Claudia Gold

The cruel legacy of the She-Wolf of France

Alison Weir’s study of five Plantagenet queens is dominated by Isabella, the wife of Edward II, whose vengefulness led to the Hundred Years’ War

Queen Isabella and her army, by the Master of Wavrin. From Chroniques d’Angleterre, c. 1470. [Bridgeman]

The 14th century was ‘a bad time for humanity’. In the words of the Pulitzer prize-winning historian Barbara Tuchman:

If [those years] seemed full of brilliance and adventure to a few at the top, to most they were a succession of wayward dangers; of the three galloping evils, pillage, plague and taxes; of fierce and tragic conflicts, bizarre fates, capricious money, sorcery, betrayals, insurrections, murder, madness and the downfall of princes; of dwindling labour for the fields… and always the recurring black shadow of pestilence carrying its message of guilt and sin and the hostility of God.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in